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My heart is on your doorstep...

Chapter Text

"Hey dude. What's up?"

Dustin sat on Mike's desk whilst he was packing to go home. He watched as Mike slowly picked up his belongings and placed them in his bag. His usual spark had been missing for the past few days. Mike had told him briefly about what had happened last week at Coney Island and even though things didn't end up as to how Mike wanted he didn't expect him to be still upset about it.

"Nothing really," came the despondent reply.

"Dude come on," he placed his hand on Mike's shoulder. "She'll come around eventually."

Mike shook his head. "I saw a guy coming out her apartment this morning when I came back from my run, scary looking dude with a mohawk."

Dustin sucked in his bottom lip. It was time for a change in the game plan. "Okay that's it. We're going out tonight."

"I don't really feel like going anywhere." Mike zipped up his bag.

"Mikey, I'm not going to let you sit at home and wallow in self pity. Come on! I'll get a few of the guys and we'll drink some beer and talk some crap." Dustin playfully bumped his shoulder with his. "Come on. Staying inside isn't going to make you feel any better." He could see Mike wavering. "Look, we don't even have to go far. We'll go to that bar that is close to where you live. What's it called? Benny's?"

Mike nodded. "Yeah."

"Well then that's it. Tonight at seven I'm dragging you from your house." Dustin stood up and clapped Mike on his back. "Remember, there are plenty more fish in the sea."

True to his word, Dustin was knocking on Mike's door at seven. They decided to walk the short distance to the bar.

"I'm glad that you decided to come out." Dustin said as he shoved his hands into his jeans pockets away from the sharp night wind.

"Well it didn't seem as if I had much of a choice." Mike buttoned his thick black wool coat up to his neck. "Could've picked a warmer night though."

"Well maybe if you play your cards right, you would have someone by the end of the night warming you up."

Mike looked at him suspiciously as Dustin opened the door to Benny's for him. As soon as he walked in he saw what Dustin was up to. He had invited Lucas and Stacey.

"Hi guys!" Dustin walked in with a big smile. "Glad you could make it."

Mike exchanged pleasantries as well, noting how Dustin made sure to sit next to Lucas so that he would have to sit next to Stacey.

The night proceeded well enough. Stacey kept her hand on Mike's thigh underneath the table. Occassionally her fingers would brush over Mike's cock keeping him in a perpetually half hard state. Dustin kept smirking at the two of them while Lucas was looking around to see who could challenge in a game of darts.

After the waitress has cleared away their plates and Lucas had found a challenger and Dustin had decided to hit on some woman at the bar it was just Mike and Stacey remaining at the table. Stacey's fingers were comfortably curled over Mike's hand that was on his thigh while she ghost kisses to Mike's neck. Mike was trying to carry on a coversation with her but it was in vain. Stacey's touches were just a bit too distracting. Stacey pried the collar of his shirt back and planted a firm kiss on Mike's neck. He was positive that Stacey wanted to sleep with him tonight and given all that had happened with El, or hadn't happened for that matter, he didn't have a problem with it.

"You know, there's this girl that keeps on watching us," Stacey said as her lips trailed up the side of Mike's neck.

Mike's eyes darted around. "Where?"

"Just behind us, on the other side of the room."

Mike's head snapped around and immediately he spotted El sitting leisurely in a booth with one leg up on the cushion and a beer in her hand. She made no attempts to hide that she had been watching them and she stared right back at Mike unphased.

Stacey's fingers curled into the hair at the nape of Mike's neck. "Do you know her?"

"Um..." Mike swallowed hard. He didn't want to deny El but on the other hand he didn't want to explain why El might be staring at them like that. "Yeah... she's my neighbour."

"Oh." Stacey sounded a bit curious. So do you want to invite her over or something."

Mike shook his head and turned his attention back to Stacey . "No. If she wanted to be over here she would be over here by now."

"Okay." Stacey leaned in to place a lingering kiss on Mike's cheek. Her hand running up and down Mike's chest. "What do you say that we ditch this place and head back to yours?" Her pretty blue eyes fixed on Mike waiting expectantly for an answer.

"Yeah sure." Mike eased away from Stacey slightly. "Just let me go to the restroom for a minute." He got up before Stacey even responded.

Mike splashed the cold water on his face and stared at himself in the mirror as the water dripped off in to the sink. Seeing El watching him like that had unnerved him more than he had anticipated. It felt as if he had been caught doing something wrong. Which in itself was silly because he wasn't. He had seen at least two guys leave El's apartment that week and now that he was going to get lucky tonight, El had to pop up and throw him off course.

"Calm yourself Mike," he muttered to himself as he grabbed some tissue from the holder and dried his face.

As soon as he exited the restroom he saw Stacey in the corridor waiting on him.

Stacey slinked up to him with a cunning grin. "I wanted to make sure that you didn't get lost." She locked her arms behind Mike's neck. The bathrooms were cut off from the main restaurant behind a curved wall giving them some privacy.

Mike wrapped his arms around Stacey's waist. His finger resting on top of the curves of her pert ass. "I'm glad that you came to find me." Stacey smirked in response as Mike leaned forward.

Stacey's lips were familiar and soft. They felt good pressing back against his own as they kissed. He parted his lips as Stacey eased her tongue into his mouth and he pulled her in even closer. This was good. This was nice. He didn't have to second guess anything. He knew what Stacey was up to. She had a legal job, as a manager of small gallery. It was uncomplicated. Mike liked uncomplicated things and people. As the kiss deepened he heard the footsteps of someone walking by. It sounded as if the person went straight into the bathroom without missing a beat. That was one thing he liked about New York, everyone went about their own business.

He tried to pull away to end the kiss but Stacey kept her hand firmly planted against the back of Mike's head. He heard the footsteps again and nearly jumped when the person stopped and pinched his ass before continuing on. Instinctively he knew that it was El. She had to let him know that she saw him making out with Stacey. He immediately felt guilty even though he did nothing wrong. Was he not allowed to enjoy himself as well or was that only reserved for El?

However he managed to separate his lips from Stacey's. If it had been any other time it would have been welcomed.

"Sooo," Stacey's arms went around Mike's waist. "Are we gonna head back to your place now?"

The answer should have been yes. It really should. He gently eased Stacey's hands from around his waist. "I think I'm gonna call it a night."

"What?" Stacey looked completely confused and surprised. "Whats changed?"

What was he suppose to tell her? That he didn't want to sleep with her because he felt guilty about it, even though El had made it explicitly clear that she didn't want a relationship with him? It sounded pathetic even in his head. "I'm just really tired."

The expression on Stacey's face showed that she clearly did not believe him. "Riiight." she ran her fingers through her hair. "Look I don't know what's going on but when you get it sorted out give me a call okay?" she put her hands hands in her back pockets and turned and sashshayed away.

Mike leaned back against the wall, exhaling audibly through his mouth. This situation with El was just fucking him up in ways he didn't even think possible. Pushing off the wall, he decided to go look for Dustin and Lucas and make his excuses and then head home. He needed the solitude just to get his mind right to sort out how he was truly feeling and what he wanted.


Mike rested his head back on his couch looking up at the ceiling. One hand absentmindedly stroking Paladin next to him. He hadn't seen El when he went back out to the bar. Dustin was none to pleased about him calling it an early night but he let him go. He knew that Dustin was only trying to help but he just wasn't into it tonight.

El was such an enigma. He didn't know where to start or end with her. Somehow she had managed to seep underneath Mike's skin and he had no idea how to get her out. It was ironic how she managed to be there when she told Mike that she had no wish to be.

His phone vibrated on the coffee table alerting him to a text message. He picked it up and read the message.

Come over.

It was from a number that he didn't recognize. It took him after a while of staring at the screen to figure out that it had to be from El. Remembering that he had given her his number last week at Coney Island.

He wondered what El wanted as he made his way to the door. He didn't even bother to slip on his shoes. He was just going next door. El's door was already slightly opened when he got there. Obviously she was expecting him. He stepped inside and closed the door behind him turning the locks.

As he walked into the living room he saw El standing by the window looking out on to the dark garden. Her back was to him and she seemed to be deep in thought about something. When Mike had almost reached her she spoke up. "I'm surprised that you didn't bring your lady friend home."

An unexpected smile played on Mike's lips. "Jealous?" He wrapped his arms around El's waist from behind pressing his hips firmly against El's backside.

"Of that Stepford Wife?" She snorted. "Never." All the same her hands clamped down over Mike's.

Mike didn't respond but continued to hold on to her. It felt so much better holding El than Stacey. The scent of her hair, the curve of her body. Everything just felt right. Mike placed his lips against El's temple. Just to linger. A touch not a kiss.

They stayed in silence for a while. El's body eventually relaxing against him. His own body forming around El's. The perfect fit.

"Mike?" El finally said. "You know that this can't work right?"

"I honestly don't." He kissed El's temple. "We've never given it a chance."

"Mike..." El's voiced trailed off and she sighed. "It doesn't make any sense. I'm not staying. I don't do relationships."

"You keep on saying that. How come you don't do relationships?" Mike slipped a hand underneath El's shirt, his fingers splaying over El's flat belly.

"They're too messy. I keep on messing up and disappointing people. I'm tired of it. This way is for the best."

Mike's hand moved further up El's body. His long fingers tweaked a nipple through her bra and a low groan slipped out of El's mouth. "You think that you're gonna disappoint me?" His lips tracing the outer rim of El's ear.

El groaned and pressed her ass against Mike's crotch. "I know it."

Mike pressed his hips back. "I don't think so."

"Mike?" El decided to try to a different approach. "Okay, so we have great sex. I can admit that. So why can't it stay there?"

"Because," Mike kept one hand on El's nipple and slipped the other underneath the waistband of El's yoga pants edging his fingers towards her core. "You like me and I like you." His fingers lightly pushing her clit through her panties.

"Mike," El tried to protest but a moan fell from her lips as Mike started to rub circles over her clit harder. "Why are you being so stubborn?"

Mike kissed El's cheek. "Because I want you." He moved El's panties to the side working her faster, skin on skin.

"Fuck Mike." El's head was now resting back on Mike's chest. Her eyes closed. Her lips parted as all of her energy was focused on how good Mike was making her feel.

Mike used his other hand to push down her yoga pants, then he fully pushed his clothed erection against her. "I'm not sure you deserve this after you messed things up tonight with me and Stacey. I could be right there next door with her. But no you had to get jealous and make it known that you were watching. Don't even try to deny it. You were jealous."

"She couldn't handle you anyway." El's eyes remained closed.

"Is that so?" Mike pushed himself against El's naked ass even harder. "I have half a mind to bend you over and fuck you right now."

El grinded her ass against Mike's hard on. "Maybe you should."

"I'm not an animal El." His hands sped up on El's clit whilst he slipped his fingers inside her heat, soon her short pants and soft moans filled the room.

Mike was nibbling on El's earlobe when she came. El was panting hard. Her heart racing. She was allowing Mike to do things to her that she didn't allow other people to do, including getting inside her head and maybe even her heart.

She felt Mike's presence disappear from behind her and she shivered slightly. He had probably gone to clean off his hand. But still she felt somewhat vulnerable and naked without Mike being there.

By the time that Mike came back El had pulled her self together physically and mentally. Mike returned looking flustered his dark eyes sparkling his pants riding dangerously low on his hips.

It wasn't fair El mused as her train of thought was almost derailed when Mike gave her a sexy smirk and licked his lips. When Mike embraced her and cupped the back of her head El knew that it had gone too far. When Mike's lips touched hers and her automatic response was to pull Mike in even closer she knew that she was heading into trouble. A kiss shouldn't be making her weak like this she thought as her tongue made its way into Mike's mouth. It shouldn't be making her feel things.

When Mike's hands moved further south to firmly cup her ass she knew that she should stop it right then. But then Mike gave her cheeks a hard squeeze and she found herself jumping to wrap her legs around Mike's waist.

This was all wrong she thought as their lips remained attached and Mike carried her to her bedroom. Mike laid her down on the bed before settling himself on top. Mike tugged at the hem of El's shirt and the next thing she knew it was off of her and Mike was trailing kisses down her chest.

"Mike," El finally managed to get out when his tongue swirled in her belly button. "We need to stop."

Mike raised an eyebrow. "Why?"

"Because ..." El trailed off. What good reason could she give other than the truth. But she didn't want to tell Mike the truth.

Mike moved back up her body. His hair all over the place. He stopped a few inches away from El's face. "What's really going on El?"

Those dark eyes demanded the truth from her but yet she felt as though she couldn't give it. "You know that this isn't going to work between us right?"

"You keep on saying that El. That it wouldn't work. That's all you say. But it isn't what you do."

"I haven't led you on." El responded defensively

"Really?" Mike sat back. "Then what the heck was that tonight at the bar? What was that? Why were you staring Stacey and me down at the bar? Huh? What was that? Or why did you pinch my ass when you saw us kissing?"

El eased herself up against her pillow. "I didn't mean it like that."

"Like hell you didn't." Mike felt himself losing his cool but he tried to control it. But he also knew that El was bullshitting him. "You don't want to be with me but when you see me with someone else you stare me down as if I'm cheating on you or something."

El didn't respond but Mike was angry at her. She could do anger. She understood anger. She didn't understand whatever it was that Mike was trying to force on her. She didn't like that. It felt strange and alien. It made her feel too many things. Things that she had no business feeling. Things that didn't belong to a girl like her. She didn't deserve those things.

"Well aren't you going to say something?" Mike rested his hands on his thighs. A dark lock hanging in front of his eyes.

A moment of silence passed between them and Mike got off the bed. "I'm going to ask you this once El. Do you want me or not?"

El worried her bottom lip with the edge of her teeth. "I just want a simple thing. This is getting complicated."

"It's only getting complicated because you're making it that way." Mike placed his hands on his hips. " I like you El. You must know that. If you want no strings attached sex I can give you that. If you want a relationship I can give you that as well. But don't be telling me that you want it with no strings attached but when I go out and do my own thing you have a problem with it."

"I didn't have a problem with it." El's eyes meeting Mike's properly.

"You're such a fucking liar." Mike didn't mean it to come out like that and he saw El visibly wincing when he said it. He lowered his voice to a more civil level. "Why can't you just be honest with me?"

El twiddled with the drawstring on her yoga pants.

Mike sighed and walked to the door. "You know what I think? I think that you're more scared of being hurt than protecting me from whatever it is."

When El started pulling the loose threads out of the drawstring avoiding any eye contact and obviously trying to block out Mike, he shook his head and walked away.



The wind was high and boisterous outside. It ripped through the few green leaves on the trees scattering them to the ground. The smaller trees bend beneath the wind's might while the older, thicker trees held on to their roots with a prayer. The rain lashed the apartment building and the thunder rumbled across the dark sky. It was a good night to be inside.

Mike hadn't heard from El since he walked out of her apartment a few days ago. He watched the last remains of his hot chocolate disappear down the sink as he washed the mug. Come to think of it he hadn't seen her either. He also hadn't seen any other random guys leaving her apartment.

He placed the mug on the counter to dry and wiped his hands on the towel that rested on the handle of the oven. Maybe Jenny had been right after all. He had been single for so long that he was willing to accept tiny crumbs of the promise of something more from El instead of seeing the big picture. El just wasn't as into him as he was into El.

He turned off the light in the kitchen and Paladin strolled next to him into his bedroom. He watched as Paladin settled down on his barely used bed, curling up into a tight ball. Mike pulled his duvet up over his shoulders and then turned off the light on the nightstand. Maybe tomorrow he would call Stacey up and apologize or maybe he could finally notice these girls that Dustin said that were always checking him out. Or hopefully he could just meet someone new. As he closed his eyes he knew that he had to move on from thinking about El Hopper.


A sudden jolt of dread washed over Mike as he slept. The hairs on the back of his neck were standing up on end. He bolted up out of his sleep. He had a distinct feeling that someone was watching him. His heart started to thunder in his chest when his eyes adjusted to darkness and he saw a silhouette standing on the other side of his bed.

"What the fuck?" He exclaimed loudly but the figure didn't move. He could feel a huge lump in his throat restricting his airway. Paladin started to meow. He clumsily reached for the lamp next to the bed and managed to knock it over on its side before he turned it onu and the light flooded the room.

"El?"

The girl was standing on the carpet next to his bed drenched from head to toe. Her hair was plastered to her head. Tiny rivers still ran over her face and down her neck. Her hoodie was soaked through and the water ran off onto the carpet. Paladin went up to her and started meowing again as she looked at the water that dripped off.

Mike scrambled out of bed. "What the hell are you doing here? What's the meaning of you scaring the living daylights out of me?"

El remained despondent and only stared back at Mike who started to feel uneasy and began to wonder if El had snapped.

"How did you get in here?"

El reached into her jeans pocket. "I have a key." She showed Mike the spare key that she had taken from the side table. Fuck. Mike had forgotten about that.

"So why are you here?" That was the most important question of the hour.

A certain lost expression overcame El's face as she stared down at the carpet. Her shoulders slumped as if she had been defeated. "I had to."

Mike waited for her to say something more but she didn't. El suddenly seemed unsure of herself and she was looking at Mike with a questioning expression that seemed to ask if she was still welcome here or not. She looked so forlon in her soggy wet clothes and red nose that against his better judgement Mike relented.

"Come on," he placed his hands on El's soaked hoodie. "Let's get you out of these wet clothes before you catch a cold."

El stripped down to her blue bra and panties set and Mike noticed that they were soaked through as well. "Okay, go and take a hot shower and I'll put these in the dryer." He pointed to El's underwear. "I'll be needing to take those as well."

El pulled them off while Mike had his back turned and placed them in his outstretched hand. Mike made his way into his small laundry room with Paladin on his heels. He lifted the lid of the dryer and started dropping El's clothes inside.

He noticed Paladin watching him intently. "Don't give me that look," he told the cat as he sighed and set the timer on the dryer, noting that it was after two in the morning. "I don't know what she wants and I know that I should have sent her home but I couldn't." He looked at the cat and the cat looked back at him. "You're judging me again." He picked Paladin up and petted him. "I'm tired of these games too. One day she wants me, the other she doesn't." He scratched Paladin behind his ears. "I'll admit that I still really do like her," he said softly. "But unless she can give me a good reason for breaking into my house in the middle of the night, I'm through."

By the time Mike made it back to his bedroom, El was walking out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around her.

"Do you want your clothes back?" Mike sat on the bed with one leg propped up.

El fidgetted with the knot on her towel. She glanced up at Mike sheepishly. "I was hoping that we could talk."

Mike raised his eyebrows in surprise. Well this was a first. El actually wanted to talk. "About what?"

She seemed even more nervous now biting her bottom lip. "You and me."

"Oh?" Mike couldn't hide the shock in his voice.

El just glanced around the room nervously. She was clearly uncomfortable. Mike got up and went over to his wardrobe and pulled open a drawer taking out a pair of old grey sweat pants and a blue t-shirt. "Here put these on."

"Thanks." El slipped them on around her towel before removing the white terry cloth. Mike took the towel and went to hang it back up in the bathroom.

When he came back out El was sitting on the edge of the bed. He sat next to her but kept some distance between them.

El hunched over, clapsing her hands together. "You were right."

"About what?"

"About me being jealous over the other girl. I admit it." El shook her head. "I know that it's stupid but I didn't like seeing her touch you."

"How come?"

El released an exasperated sigh. "Do I have to spell it out for you?"

A tiny smirk played on Mike's lips. "Well considering that you broke into my house in the middle of the night scaring me half to death, it's the least you could do."

El looked indignant. "I didn't break in. I had a key."

"That I never gave you. You took it remember."

El brushed him off. "Whatever."

A few silent seconds passed.

"So are you going to tell me why you were jealous?"

El glanced across the room and saw that Paladin was sitting up waiting for his answer as well. "Jesus!" she exclaimed. "I like your stupid face alright? Is that what you wanted to hear?"

"But you said that it was pretty." Mike pouted.

"When did I say that?"

"The night that I brought you home drunk."

"Okay fine. I like your pretty stupid face," she grinned. "Is that better?"

Mike just looked at her and El slid closer to him. El placed a hand on Mike's shoulder and leaned in as if to kiss him but Mike pulled back.

"What's wrong Mike?" Her golden eyes searching Mike's face for an answer.

"El, did you really come to me in the middle of the night just to tell me that you were jealous and that you like my stupid face?" The golden eyes stopped searching and moved focus to her lap. "Because I kind of figured that out already."

El tried to move away from him but Mike placed a hand on her knee to stop her. "It's time that you stop running El. You know as well as I do that you coming here at this time, there has to be something more." Mike exhaled. "What do you want El?"

El worried her bottom lip with the edge of her teeth. Suddenly she held her head up and looked Mike dead in the eye. "I want you."

The words weren't spoken loudly but somehow they seemed to have filled the room and sucked the air right out of it. The thunder rolled on the outside, the rain lashed against the window and El wanted him.

"Are you saying that you want to be with me?" Mike asked a bit hesistantly.

"Mike," El started. "I was being honest when I told you that I don't do relationships like this. I really don't know how to. My dad died when I was young and since then nobody really wanted me around, I was good at making myself scarce and going off to do my own thing." El gave a short laugh. "Foster homes always seemed a bit disappointed when I came back."

Mike could sense that there was a lot more to that story that El was glossing over but he let her continue.

"I guess that I carried that mentality with me into relationships. I ..." she drifted off and started to laugh. " I don't know what to tell you Mike. I'm a screw up. I'm good at getting people not to like me." El tried to smile but it didn't quite reach her eyes. "I don't want you to not like me."

Mike took his time carefully thinking over what El was trying to tell him. "So what are you trying to say?"

El picked at a thread on the sweat pants. "That I don't want to mess us up. If you know, we decide to be an actual thing."

"Do you want us to be a thing?"

El's eyes darted between Mike's eyes and lips. "Very much so. But Mike, you know that I'm involved in not quite legitimate stuff, I wish I could say more but for your safety I can't. I also might have to leave soon. So a thing isn't really the most practical idea either of us have had."

"Do you want me to see other people?"

El leaned in closer to him, placing her right hand on Mike's thigh. "No."

"So if we have this thing," Mike pretended to not be distracted by that hand that was inching ever so slowly towards his crotch. "Does this mean that you're going to be exclusive as well?"

She leaned in and placed a kiss at the center of Roman's throat. "I have never not been."

"but the people at your apartment, leaving in the morning"

"Not what you think.. a story for another time" El raised her head up and brushed her lips against Mike's. "I want to give us a try." She sucked Mike's bottom lip into her mouth. "But if I mess it up, remember that I warned you from the get go."

Mike didn't say anything as he slid an arm around El's shoulder, pulling her in. His lips covered El's and that familiar spark flew through him. El kissed him back immediately, parting her lips for Mike's tongue.

El ended up on her back with Mike on top of her. She sighed as Mike planted kisses down her neck and onto her shoulder.

"Are you sure that you want this?" Mike dropped another kiss on to El's shoulder.

El nodded. " Yes."

Mike smiled. "Good." He kissed El's lips. "Because it's after three in the morning and I need to get some sleep." El smiled as Mike reached over her for the blanket.

He pulled the duvet over them before settling back down and turning off the light. It surprised him when El got closer to him first and laid her head on his chest. Mike placed an arm around El's waist and began to think of what just happened. Him and El were now a thing. Just when hours before he had decided to let El go, to move on, El barged right back in and told him what he needed to hear.

El was beginning to drift off to sleep when she felt something soft and padded pressing into her cheek and another one on her forehead pausing briefly before moving. Even before opening her eyes she knew what just had happened. Paladin had just walked over her face. She opened her eyes to see the cat walking across Mike's chest.

"Pal, you know that you're not allowed on the bed." Mike said without opening his eyes. The cat ignored him of course and stepped on El's arm that was over Mike's waist. The cat turned around a couple of times before settling himself on the part of El's arm that was touching Mike.

El could have sworn that Paladin narrowed his eyes at her before closing them and settling all of his weight on her arm. El got the hint and moved her hand away and curled it up against her own chest. At least Mike was still holding her. She was still allowed to have that small victory against the feline.


When Mike awoke the following morning he was surprised to see that El was still there and she was fast asleep. Her face was half buried into a pillow and her hair somehow managed to cover half her face. El and him were together. It was a bit unbelievable. Mike sat up and noticed that Paladin was asleep on his lap. He gently lifted the cat off and placed him on the bed next to El. Maybe those two would get along one of these days.

Mike had just finished one omelet and was about to pour another one into the frying pan when he felt arms wrapping around his waist and a warm body pressing up against him. "Good morning."

El mumbled something and pushed her lips into Mike's shoulder. "Morning. What are you making?" She peered over Mike's shoulder. "I don't like peppers."

"What?" Mike looked at the tiny pieces of green bell peppers that he had chopped up and placed into the egg mixture.

" I don't like peppers." El repeated matter of factly.

"Really? This is coming from the girl that likes anchovies and pepperoni together on a pizza."

He looked back at El who only looked back at him with her eyes wide trying to look as innocent as possible.

Mike sighed and picked up a spoon. "Fine. I'll pick them out."

El kissed his cheek. "Thank you."

El walked over to the fridge as Mike threw pieces of pepper into the sink. El took the carton of orange juice from the fridge and was about to put it to her lips when Mike yelled at her so loudly that it startled her and she nearly dropped the carton.

"El! Don't you dare drink straight from the carton. Use a glass. They are in the cupboard above you." Mike sounded exasperated as he poured the pepper free mixture into the pan.

"No need to yell. Jeez." El got a glass down from the cupboard.

"I swear sometimes it's like you have had no home training." Mike poked the edge of the omelet with a spatula.

"You sound just like Kali." El poured the juice into the glass.

"Who's Kali?"

The expression El's face told Mike that El didn't really mean to let that little tidbit slip out.

"She's just a girl I know." El spoke hurriedly.

"From where?"

"What's with the Spanish inquisition? Am I not allowed to know people?" El narrowed her eyes at Mike accusingly as if she was about to go off on him.

He didn't want to fight with El the morning after they got together so he held his tongue. He flipped the omelet over in the pan. "I was just asking a question. I didn't think that it would upset you."

Mike waited for a response but when none came he turned around and saw that El was not there. He peeped around the corner and saw that El was now in the living room sitting on the couch with her feet up on the coffee table.

He went back into the kitchen and plated the omelets, wondering what exactly had he gotten himself into.